Clark: Alright people settle
down, now. You people get down off the seats. Settle down.
Settle down. Boys and girls, settle down. May I have your attention?
Quiet! Quiet down! Take your seats! You people sit down. Sit down. Quiet
I am your new principal. My name is Joe Clark. I want you to be
quiet! I want you to listen! From here out, there will be no
smoking in this school! All of you who are smoking, put out your
cigarettes on the soles of your shoes; put the buds in your pockets! Now!
You there, you.
Put out your cigarette.
I'm going to ask the people up on
the stage to open with our school song...Mr. Rollin....
Students: Hahaha. You believe
[General banter, mock singing, chaos.]
Alright, that's enough, Mr. Rollin, that's enough.
I want all of you to take a good look
at these people on the risers behind
These people have been here up to five years and done absolutely
nothing. These people are drug dealers and drug users. They have taken up
space; they have disrupted the school; they have harassed your teachers;
and they have intimated you. Well, times are about to change. You will not
be bothered in Joe Clark's school.
Clark: These people are incorrigible. And
since none of them could graduate anyway, you
are all expurgated. You are dismissed!
You are out of here forever! I wish you well. Mr. Wright....
Next time it may be you. If you do no
better than they did, next time it will be you. They said this school was
dead, like the cemetery it's built on. But we call our East Side teams
"ghosts," don't we? And what are ghosts? Ghosts are spirits that rise from
the dead. I want you to be my ghosts. You are going to lead our
resurrection by defying the expectation that all of us are doomed to
My motto is simple: If you do not succeed in life, I don't want
you to blame your parents. I don't want you to blame the white man!
I want you to blame yourselves! The responsibility is yours!!
In two weeks we have a practice exam
and a minimum basic skills test on April 13th. That's a hundred and ten
school days from now. But it's not just about those test scores. If you do
not have these basic skills, you will find yourselves locked out! Locked
out of that American Dream that you see advertised on TV -- that they tell
you is so easy to get.
You are here for one reason -- one
reason only: To learn, to work for what you want. The alternative is to
waste your time and to fall into the trap of crime, drugs, and death. Does
everyone understand that? Do all of you understand me?!